Digital security provider Gemalto announced it has been chosen by Imprimerie Nationale, the French public printing office, to provide its Coesys Issuance solution to personalize the second-generation biometric passports that will be issued in France. These new passports contain digital biometric information, notably the holder’s fingerprints.
By adopting second-generation travel documents, France is complying with the European Commission directive that requires all member states to include digital biometric information into passports issued from June 2009. With a personalization system available now, France is in a position to meet this deadline. Protection of the rights to read this data is enhanced by an extended access control mechanism specially designed to ensure confidentiality of biometric information. Five pilot regions (Nord, Oise, Aube, Gironde and Loire-Atlantique) will start issuing the new biometric passports this fall. Imprimerie Nationale, which currently issues around three million passports a year, will gradually replace existing documents.
The Coesys Issuance personalization solution prepares the data that will be incorporated into the biometric passport and generates the security keys directly at Imprimerie Nationale’s premises. The Gemalto solution also handles the secure loading of all individual data into each passport and performs complete management of this data. It carries out personalization of an EAC microprocessor. Finally, Coesys Issuance ensures a level of quality control equivalent to that of the new authentication system that will be implemented at border controls.
“Gemalto was able to offer a turnkey personalization solution that is standardized, modular, flexible,” said Loïc Lenoir de la Cochetière, chairman and CEO of Imprimerie Nationale. “Eventually, we will be able to use this system to personalize other types of secure identity documents produced at Imprimerie Nationale.”